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Expert Opin Biol Ther. 2006 Feb;6(2):147-54.

The role of myostatin and bone morphogenetic proteins in muscular disorders.

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  • 1Institute for Comprehensive Medical Science, Division for Therapies against Intractable Diseases, Fujita Health University, Toyoake, Aichi 470-1192, Japan.


Skeletal muscle is the largest organ in the human body, and plays an important role in body movement and metabolism. Skeletal muscle mass is lost in genetic disorders such as muscular dystrophy, muscle wasting and ageing. Chemicals and proteins that restore muscle mass and function are potential drugs that can improve human health and could be used in the clinic. Myostatin is a muscle-specific member of the transforming growth factor (TGF)-beta superfamily that plays an essential role in the negative regulation of muscle growth. Inhibition of myostatin activity is a promising therapeutic method for restoring muscle mass and strength. Potential inhibitors of myostatin include follistatin domain-containing proteins, myostatin propeptide, myostatin antibodies and chemical compounds. These inhibitors could be beneficial for the development of clinical drugs for the treatment of muscular disorders. Bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) plays a significant role in the development of neuromuscular architecture and its proper functions. Modulation of BMP activity could be beneficial for muscle function in muscular disorders. This review will describe the current progress in therapy for muscular disorders, emphasising the importance of myostatin as a drug target.

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